Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cha-Ching

Ok. Las Vegas is just ridiculous. It was everything I expected and more. The one thing that shocked me was how there are so few places that cater to people who want to be outside. Everything is indoors and dark and often smoky. That is a damn shame, especially when the weather is 65-75 and sunny! Mrp and I luckily found a few cafes with outdoor seating to enjoy the warm air, sunshine and people watching. Wow. The people run the gambit. We saw the quitessential Vegas guy with the slicked hair and baby blue patent leather shoes. But those are a rarity. Instead the Japanese business men abound alongside the ubiquitous bleach blond bachelorette party-goers and their mid-life crisis in training male counterparts, flashy Euopeans, and middle Americans enjoying such passe attractions as Coyote Ugly, Dick's Last Resort, and Planet Hollywood. And someone has to appreciate that every casino forces those horrible leotard-like outfits on their cocktail waitresses. It's really not sexy. Well, not to me anyway. Actually, that's what I think really intrigued me. Who are all these people making this place tick and what the heck do they think of all this excess and all-to-common cluelessness that abounds? And how do they feel charging me $2.99 for a cup of diner coffee?!

Even worse, the place is teeming with misguided parents who somehow got hosed into thinking a place with pictures of naked women in lascivious poses littering the sidewalks and with hotels that force you to walk a long ways through a smoky labrynthian casino is a family destination. It's really not, whatever anyone might tell you. It is the most adult of playgrounds and if you accept that it can be a lot of fun. And boy did mrp and I have fun!

It was so fun just to gape at the spectacle. Sure, the water attractions at the hotels, like the Fountains of Bellagio (said in a very breathy and vaguely European accented voice) are nothing short of appalling in light of the drought conditions in the dessert Southwest (made even more glaring when we passed over the very obviously depleted Lake Mead). But the fake New York, Paris, Egypt, Rome, Venice, Thailand were absurdly amazing. "Rome," also known as Caesar's Palace is truly the best of the bunch. In fact, before we even made it into Caesar's I was sure all those thick velvet curtains in the casinos hid VIP vomitoria. Maybe there really aren't vomitoria, but I'm sure for the right price one could purchase an orgy. Vegas proves there are some things about people that span the ages. I'm sure I would have been a snobby Roman if I was born 2200 years ago too.

Anyway, mrp and I were total dorks and paid too much to ride to the top of the "Eiffel Tower" (which was horrifying!) and we got the guts up and forked over too much to ride the roller coaster on top of "New York" (which was really fun!) We went out for an absurdly expensive dinner (seriously, I didn't know a dinner for two people could cost that much!) We went with an opulent 7-course tasting menu at the chicest of French restaurants. We even let the sommelier choose our wine for each course (1985 Port tastes pretty damn good!) In our normal life we would NEVER do anything like that and I'm not sure we're sophisticated enough to fully appreciate it, but we did appreciate expanding our horizons and just doing something different. Mixing it up and living on the edge is good sometimes! Foie gras is always disgusting! And now we know.

As for running, while we were in Vegas we got out to run once. We drove about 15 miles West to Red Rock Canyon. It was such a nice break from the Vegasness of Vegas. The ranger pointed us to some non-treachorous trails and off we went running through the dessert. It was glorious! I now understand the appeal of real trail running. It was so fun to cruise up and down the single track dusty trails. Man, I could do that all day everyday. So beautiful and fun! We managed about 4 miles but we did do a little starting and stopping to gaze at the scenery or check out a lizard or two along the way. Afterwards we found a trail that went deep into the rocky canyon and did a little hiking and exploring. Then we returned to the faint dinging and whirring and flashing and smoking of the casino-wonderland to the East.

At least we had the forethought to ditch Vegas in favor of the Grand Canyon on Saturday morning. We got to avoid the weekend bacchanalian throngs and see one of the 7 natural wonders of the world to boot!

13 comments:

Meghan said...

I hope you tell us about the Grand Canyon. Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh, it sounds like you two had fun, despite Las Vegas being, really, Las Vegas. Red Rocks is gorgeous isn't it, you little trail runner, you!

Glad you're back!
Meghan

Miss Adventurous said...

Wow!

Sounds like so much FUN! Did you get a picture at the top of the roller coaster?? Will you put pictures on facebook?

Oh yeah, Grandma had her surgery; Auntie J is in town at their house. She (Grandma) sounded great when I talked to her a couple of days ago!

Miss Adventurous said...

Yeah, and what about the Grand Canyon?

Chelle said...

I know, like, TOTALLY...you can not give that many column inches to bling-bling vegas and not tell us about the canyon. And pictures, pictures, pictures!

keith said...

I'm just glad your Vegas entry didn't start with "mrp and I were just outside of Barstow when the drugs began to take hold..."

The Salty One said...

I'm getting to it. Promise! I might even post pictures if I can find the thingee that plugs my camera into my computer and if the cable company ever gets around to fixing our internet connection at home (jerks!)

Haha Keith! Somehow, I just can't see mrp reliving any of Hunter S's experiences any time soon! Me, on the other hand...

GP said...

The one time I went to Vegas I really wondered why we were spending so much time inside when you could see from the hotel windows some great landscapes in the not-so-far distance.

It's an incredible flight there too — whenever I fly westward I stare out the window with my mouth open at all the geographical things I learned about in third grade. Oooh! Plateaus!

If I ever end up out that way again, I'll have to check out the trails. It's a good time of year for their great outdoors.

NEOhio welcomes you back with plentiful snow. We thought you might have missed it.

Mindi said...

Yep, I want to hear about the Grand Canyon too. I loved it out there. I never realized the joy of trail running or rock climbing until I went out there. It is a shame it took me so long in life!

Glad you enjoyed Vegas! Much to my husband's dismay, it is still on my "least likely places to go by choice." Heh!

Joseph P. Wood said...

Every time I went to Vegas--about five hours from Tucson--I always saw these kids dead asleep in the lobby and/or doorways of the casino while their parents were inside.

I also remember driving into Vegas from the mountains and seeing the cityscape lit up at night--it looked the ground was on fire...

TrainingtoTri said...

Sounds like fun. I was actually shocked that I liked vegas when we went. I found I have a hidden talent for craps, who knew! The grand canyon is so breath taking. Did you get any good pics to post?

E-Speed said...

glad you had such a good trip! That fancy dinner sounds wild. I can't imagine spending that much money but I am sure it was fun!

Miss Adventurous said...

HAHA! Mrp is perfect for a really good Hunter S. experience! Oh, my, that's funny....

Papa Louie said...

I couldn't figure out where to run on the streets when I was in Vegas. I ended up running on the treadmills.